We are in the season of abundance… and after witnessing the extraordinary sightings around Londolozi at the moment, it is not hard to see why. A few months ago the weather warmed up, the humidity rose and the rains started to fall. With water in the ground – grasses, plants and trees flourished, providing a large quantity of food for the herbivorous population. Owing to this amplitude of food, herbivores such as impala, warthogs, wildebeest and zebra give birth to their young at this time every year. With plump herbivores, newborns and dense bush; the predators have an abundance of game on which to prey.
Over the last fortnight I have found the predatory aspect, of this season of abundance, quite amazing. Almost daily our rangers and trackers have arrived back from morning and evening game drives replete with stories of wild dogs hunting antelope, lions killing baby warthogs and leopard after leopard deftly hunting young impalas.
A few days ago, we featured a video of an impala lamb taking its first steps. Within 21 minutes of being born the lamb was up and walking, no doubt beginning to learn from its mother immediately. Sadly many of these impala lambs do get killed and it is tragic to witness. I can only speculate that the bushveld provides an over abundance, possibly knowing that it needs to sustain all the living species. When these young animals get killed – nature regulates, the environment sustains and the cycle continues. It is all somehow perfectly balanced even though there seems to be a lot of it going on.
The video below is of the Nyelethi Female Leopard killing a young impala. With feline instincts she catches and plays with the new impala before deciding she has had enough.
The season of abundance will be over in a few weeks time and so too will the abundance of killing. The lambs, piglets, foals & calves that make it through this period will stand ever greater chances of reaching maturity and the predators will find it harder to find easy prey. Despite these sad sightings and innocent deaths, this time next year, the cycle will come around to repeat itself again. Nature continues unabated, unencumbered and unphased by our own humane emotions and opinions.
Photographed by: Adam Bannister